Ever wondered  about those increasingly intrusive and at times frustrating buzzers and beepers that have come to be a part of everyday driving in modern cars and  light commercials?  Well part of the reason those warning buzzers and beepers have come to be so prevalent in modern vehicles is so the manufacturers can ‘score’ valuable points in NCAP assessments  in order to reach the desired star rating, with most seeking the top five star assessment.

Now  the heavy commercial sector is looking to get on board the NCAP wagon  with Swedish maker Scania revealing it has participated at NCAP 24 in Munich recenty.

NCAP 24 was a conference where a new system for safety testing of heavy trucks was presented by the Euro NCAP organisa­tion. It has been revealed that the first round of test results will be disclosed in November this year.

Euro NCAP  says that testing of heavy trucks goes beyond legal demands and  added  that it has the potential over time to be a ‘true driving force for increased safety, especially for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians’.

Let’s hope the score weighting is not overly dependent on warning  buzzers in the cockpit.

“We see the Euro NCAP initiative as part of a new and interesting aspect in our develop­ment pro­cesses,” said Scania Trucks head of sustainable transports, Jacob Thärnå,

 “We at Scania have a solid reputation for our longstanding work with both active and passive safety in and around our trucks. The Euro NCAP testing will hopefully inspire the whole industry to step up their game and reach for the Euro NCAP stars,” said Thärnå.

According to Scania, heavy trucks in Europe are subject to exhaustive legal demands and strict regulations regarding aspects such as weight, length, speed and driving times. Up until now however, the industry has lacked a common system for evaluating non-mandatory safety aspects and functions in a uniform, neutral way.

“Assessing safety-related functionality in trucks is a lot more complicated task than it is for passenger cars,” said Thärnå.

“Heavy trucks are very diverse and they are made that way for a reason. Euro NCAP’s approach is to start on a small scale and learn as they go, is a wise decision,” he said.

“It is complicated, for instance, to evaluate basic functions like road handling and manoeuvrability while they are both extremely im­portant – and brand differentiating – from a safety aspect,” Thärnå added.

Euro NCAP says that heavy goods vehicles represent 1.5 per cent of all vehicles on Europe’s roads but are involved in 15 per cent of all road fatalities. Part of the explanation according to Euro NCAP is that trucks are driven longer distances – often up to ten times more – than passenger cars, but it is still a fact that heavy trucks are over-represented in fatal accidents.

“The sheer size of trucks and their need for space are contributing factors, and that is why advanced driver assisting systems are so valuable,” said Thärnå.

“We see a rapid deve­lopment and use of sensors and cameras, and from Scania’s side we are convinced that they will help drive further increased safety for trucks as well,” he said.

“One should not have blind faith in support systems though; direct vision and skilled drivers are still basic and essential for true safety,” Thärnå concluded.